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"Scrap" Mallet

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

   One of the by products of many chuck-based turning processes is a cut-off tenon, sometimes called a spigot. When I first started using my lathe I threw these remnants in the trash, but lately began keeping the better ones as it occurred to me I could glue them up to make something useful.

It's pretty, it's functional, and it's sort of free!
Click image to enlarge
   I begin the process by securing one of the cut-offs in the chuck and then facing it off to produce a smooth and true face. Another spigot has glue applied to its face before being pressed against the face of the chucked spigot, using the tailstock as a clamp. Often the spigots have a center hole created by the drive spur or tail stock center when the original piece was rounded. When this center is available, it is used to locate the spigot on the tailstock during gluing.
   When the glue dries, the second spigot is faced off and the process repeated, applying additional spigots until the desired length is achieved. I often add one or two additional spigots to secure the glue-up in the chuck and provide sufficient material to allow parting the finished piece away.
   A favorite project for these glue-ups is a shop mallet. I currently have three of these mallets in the shop, turned to various sizes. All of them come in very handy for jobs that need a little gentle persuasion with minimal marking of the material. The mallet in the accompanying photos is most often used for setting inlays and tapping dovetail joints together.
There is little planning during the glue-up process. Placement of the walnut blocks was the only planned portion of this project. I let the size and combined shape of the spigot group determine much of the final shape.
Click image to enlarge
   The 4 ¼"-long by 2 ¼"-diameter head of this mallet consists of 8 spigots that were glued to a pair of pine spigots used to secure the glue-up in the chuck. The mallet head glue-up has walnut, red oak, mahogany, white oak, ambrosia maple and cherry spigots. Walnut spigots were intentionally located on the ends.
   The 11"-long by 1 ¼"-diameter (maximum point) handle was turned from a glue up made by laminating two pieces of walnut with a ¼"-thick strip of red oak between them. A 1"-diameter tenon was turned at the head end of the handle to fit into a 1"-diameter socket drilled into the head.
   The head and handle were treated with one coat of Hut's Crystal Coat friction finish, followed by two thin coats of Staples Crystal Clear Paste Wax, both while still on the lathe.

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